A recent study suggests that yo-yo dieting may indeed place a burden on your heart health. If you’ve ever been through this cycle of weight gain and weight loss, then you’ve probably felt that lightness of being when you jog sans the excess weight you carried around for awhile. You then probably also felt how hard it was to jog at the same pace, once you gained back the weight, if you were still exercising at that point.
As a nutritionist and health coach I know how relatively easy it can be to initially commit to a diet, and easily endure the rigidity and the deprivation. You begin to feel lighter, people notice and comment on your newly carved cheekbones or waist, and you are truly happy to finally be in control of this demon known as food. The problem begins when the monotony of what you are consuming, or the limited calories, or the drudgery of commitment to daily boring exercise, permeates your strict schedule. Or maybe it’s a special event or party or celebration that nudges you to drop the diet for just one meal and then snowballs into a several day binge. It’s a story that repeats itself over and over for many dieters. Maintenance, or the ability to stay at your goal weight for a significant period of time, is really the crucial part of a lifestyle change, and for most people it’s also the most elusive component of weight loss. Once you make it to the maintenance phase, it is extremely challenging to keep doing the same old thing, tracking calories and portion sizes, making mostly healthier food choices and exercising. Most of your friends and family are no longer gushing over how you look, because they (a) are used to it or (b) think you’re going to blow it again and start gaining weight or (c) are envious that you’ve made it to goal weight and struggling with their own inability to follow through on commitments.
When you are post-menopausal and overweight, losing excess weight, especially if it’s located in your abdomen, is a good goal, but if you then gain back the recently lost pounds, there can be negative heart health consequences. New research out of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center suggests that gaining weight back after intentional weight loss is linked to negative long term consequences in some cardiometabolic (CM) risk factors, specifically in post-menopausal women. The researchers found that all CM risk factors improve with weight loss. But in women called regainers, who gain the weight back shortly after the weight loss (within the year), several CM risk factors deteriorate and become worse than before they even lost the weight. An earlier study also took note of the fact that when the post-menopausal women regain weight, it is typically mostly fat with little muscle.
Researchers involved in the study hope to identify the barriers and confounding issues for long term sustained weight loss in post-menopausal women, so that effective strategies can be found and implemented for significant and sustained weight loss. The takeaway message is that women who enter menopause need to find a lifestyle program that enhances weight loss and keeps it off for good.
Published On: December 17, 2012